10 Takeaways from The New York Times Travel Show

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There are any number of reasons to feel lucky to live in New York City. One is being on location for the annual 3-day The New York Times Travel Show, this year drawing a record number of participants: 9,253 from the travel industry and 20,846 consumers. Some 170 countries participated from A (Argentina) to Z (Zagreb), so you will understand the dilemma of picking just 10 client-pleasing takeaways. We’ve rounded them up here, in no particular order, so #1 is just as important to your bottom line, as #10.

10. CroisiEurope Celebrates 40th Anniversary

Celebrating its 40th anniversary, CroisiEurope has expanded its horizons to Southern Africa, launching a new 9-day safari-cruise that visits South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. The company has made itself at home with a new luxury ship, the 16-passenger African Dream with eight outside suites (two with balconies), observation deck, cozy terrace and a panoramic restaurant; cruising ground will be the Chobe and Zambezi rivers. For the land part of the safari, guests will be based at the new CroisiEurope’s four-star lodge in Chobe National Park, accommodating guests in eight spacious bungalows with an infinity pool looking out on the wilderness. Safaris on land focus on Chobe and Victoria falls. The all-inclusive safari-cruise is priced from $6,319, also covering domestic air. For more information, call (800) 768-7232 or visit croisieuroperivercruises.com.

9. GoldbergOnTravel Offers Culinary Japan Tours

Looking for an expert in designing customized itineraries to Japan? Think GoldbergOnTravel, the company headed by Marian Goldberg, former public relations manager for the Japan National Tourism Organization. “Agents know that nowadays it’s good to be able to weave authentic and extra special experiences into their vacations,” says Goldberg, “and I am finding particular interest in the many different Culinary Walking Tours we offer in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka.” For instance, on the Insider’s Tokyo Tsukji Market Tour, guests visit one of the world’s most famous fish markets, learn to prepare, taste and eat sushi and sashimi, washed down with sake. Among many other options: experiencing sumo wrestling in a real Tokyo sumo stable practice session; making your own samurai knife with a certified swordsman; and getting acquainted with the first “Snake Cafe” in Tokyo. For more information, call (347) 559-6462 or e-mail [email protected].

8. Seychelles Opens New Resorts

Seychelles, an island paradise in the middle of the Indian Ocean, topped Travel & Leisure’s list of Best Islands in Africa & the Middle East in 2016. That’s good news to David Germain, Seychelles Tourism Bureau director for Africa & the Americas. “The Seychelles are attracting more U.S. visitors, mostly those in search of a beautiful place in the sun following an African safari, or an idyllic addition to a Middle East business or leisure stay,” Germain reports. Dotted among islands and private islands are some of the world’s most beautiful resorts with new openings including Six Senses Zil Pasyon on the private island of Felicite, which opened last year, and Desroches Island Resort, re-opening as a Four Seasons this year, with 40 beach suites. According to Germain, the Seychelles are in a cyclone-free zone, so any time’s a good time to visit; however, the optimum time is for the spectacular annual Creole Festival, held on Mahi, Praslin and La Digue islands Oct. 25-31 in 2017. For more infomration, visit seychelles.travel.

7. Jacada Travel Fashions Foodie Itineraries in Peru

Jacada Travel, specialists in bespoke travel and tailor-made trips worldwide, fashions particularly delicious new experiences for foodies and gourmands in Peru. Start in Lima with guide Marisol Chocano (who followed her law degree with another from Le Cordon Blue in Paris) to visit vegetable and fish markets, as well as an organic orchard for a farm to-table lunch and a sampling of pisco sours at Cordano, the oldest bar in Lima. Private cooking lessons can also be arranged. Dining out means a meal at La Picanteria, whose chef Hector Solis produces traditional dishes, served rustically at two long tables; at Maido with chef Mitsuharu Tsumura to discover how Japanese cuisine influences Peruvian dishes; and at Central, founded by chef Virgilio Martinez. For clients flying on to Cusco and Machu Picchu, Jacada Travel adds a Sacred Valley stay for mountain biking, a look at the salt ponds at Maras, a visit to Central’s research center in the Sacred Valley and lunch at its new restaurant (opening April) in Moray. For more information, call (866) 610-1533 or visit jacadatravel.com.

6. Le Boat Launches a New Destination & Cruisers

Le Boat, whose traditional self-drive cruising ground has long been Europe, will be crossing the Atlantic pond to launch a new destination in 2018—the historic Rideau Canal in Eastern Ontario, Canada. According to managing director Cheryl Brown, the company is investing $12.2 million in Le Boat base infrastructure along the length of the canal from Ottawa to Kingston, an area that is a mecca for nature lovers for hiking, biking and birdwatching, as well as for waterspouts vacationers who can fish, paddleboat, canoe and swim. The launching fleet will number 16 state-of-the-art Horizon cruisers, expanding to at least 32 over the next five years. Le Boat will be taking advance bookings this spring, with the boating season officially launching in May 2018 and running through October every year. For more information, call (800) 734-5491 or visit leboat.com.

5. Australis Introduces New Vessel

The Stella Australis.

Australis, the award-winning cruise line whose luxury ship Stella Australis cruises on routings around the tip of South America between Punta Arenas in Chile and Ushuaia in Argentina, will be introducing a new vessel, the Venus Australis. Scheduled to debut Jan. 2, 2018, this deluxe ship will sail on two routings: The 4-night Patagonian Explorer departs Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city in Argentina and stops at Cape Horn and Wulaia Bay, also visiting the Pia and Garibaldi glaciers and Magdalena Island before arriving in Punta Arenas; the 4-night Fjords of Tierra Del Fuego route departs Punta Arenas, stopping at Ainsworth Bay and Tuckers Islets and the Pia Glacier, before passing through Glacier Ally and heading on to Cape Horn, Wulaia Bay and finally Ushuaia. The all-inclusive rate for an Australis cruise starts at $1,440 pp dbl. For more information, call (877) 678-3772 or visit australis.com.

4. Journey Mexico Offers New Escorted Group Tours

Journey Mexico is back with escorted group tours. Coming up is the 10-day Copper Canyon during Holy Week, departing April 7. On tour, guests ride the famous Chihuahua al Pacifico train through six stunning canyons, and experience the processions, rituals and festive dances of Semana Santa, as well as camping with an indigenous community and hiking in the canyon. The tour cost is $3,995 pp dbl. Expert escorts also accompany the group (no more than 14) departure on Oct. 28 for the 8-day Day of the Dead Tour in Oaxaca, a discovery of colorful Mexico and the beliefs and celebrations of life after death, mixed in with cooking classes and visits to archaeological sites, artisan’s homes, village markets and decorative cemeteries. The tour cost is $4,395. For more information, visit journeymexico.com or e-mail [email protected].

3. South America Gets Its First Luxury Sleeper Train

On track in Peru this May will be the Belmond Andean Explorer, South America’s first luxury sleeper train. It will travel along one of the highest rail routes on earth, traversing the Peruvian Andes from Cusco to Lake Titicaca and Arequipa, exploring natural wonders and ancient kingdoms on 1- and 2-night journeys. The Explorer accommodates 68 guests in two double cabins, 20 twin cabins and 12 bunkbed cabins for two; meals are served in two dining cars, while the lounge car provides a comfortable setting in which to relax and socialize, and the observation car is the place to enjoy the dramatic views and drinks. One-night itineraries travel between Cusco and Lake Titicaca; 2-night journeys include Arequipa. Prices start from $462 pp dbl, and all prices include all meals, an open bar and scheduled excursions. For more information, call (800) 237-1236 or visit belmond.com.

2. REI Adventures Launches Women’s Adventures Itineraries

REI Adventures is launching a collection of 19 Women’s Adventures in Africa, Europe, Latin America, New Zealand and North America, according to general manager Cynthia Dunbar. “As we enter our 30th year, we are excited to roll out incredible itineraries for women, as well as expanding our cycling offers into fully supported mountain bike trips, and growing our Signature Camp itineraries in Africa and Latin America.” She also notes that “with a company systems upgrade, REI is now able to provide outstanding service to travel agents.” Examples of REI’s Women’s Adventures range from Baja California, an 8-day vacation kayaking, snorkeling surfing and yoga, as well as meeting local artists and volunteering at a greenhouse non-profit, to Greek Islands, for foodies and history lovers, nine days island-hopping Tinos to Naxos to Santorini, or New Zealand with over 10 days of hiking in the Southern Alps and South Island. For more information, call (800) 622-2236 or visit rei.com.

1. Palace Tours Now Providing Train Travel in Ecuador

Palace Tours provides a central booking hub for planning rail travel aboard the most luxurious of passenger trains in India and Spain. The company is now offering train travel in Ecuador. The luxury train experience is aboard the 50-passenger Tren Crucero, traveling from Guayaquil to Quito—from the Pacific Coast, ascending the famous Devil’s Nose switchbacks to reach the Andean highlands en-route to Quito. This award-winning train is made up of a modern electric diesel and a lovingly restored steam engine, two luxury passenger cars, and observations lounge cars, carrying a full-service staff of guides and bartenders. The scenically gorgeous ride includes daily expeditions, overnight stays in historic haciendas in Bucay and Riobamba, one night in top hotels in Guayaquil and a final night in Quito. Palace Tours’ all-inclusive 5-day/4-night package is priced from $1,650 pp dbl. For more information, call (800) 724-5120 or visit palacetours.com.